Tim Blair – Monday, May 23, 11 (06:41 am)
The New York Times notices Australia’s carbon tax debate:
A plan by the Australian government to introduce the biggest emissions trading scheme outside of the European Union has unleashed a wave of partisan fighting that is threatening to sink the agenda of a second consecutive Labor government.
A call in February by the opposition leader, Tony Abbott, for a “people’s revolt” against the plan has incited one of the most raucous protest movements the country has seen in decades … the political discourse in Australia, which typically favors droll wit over bombast, is turning intensely and bitterly personal, experts say.
Bring on the experts:
“Australian politics is becoming increasingly vitriolic, as I think maybe American politics is too, and especially since Tony Abbott became opposition leader,” Rod Tiffen, a media expert and emeritus professor of political science at the University of Sydney, said in an interview. “The charge and counter-charge has just really escalated and become more personal and, well, simple-minded.”
Oldtimers who recall the personal and simple-minded charges levelled against John Howard and his government – it was removed from office way, way back in 2007 – might be surprised at Tiffen’s assessment.
Now, with both sides increasingly polarized, there is fear that Australian politics is getting increasingly combative — encouraged in part by the media.
There is fear? Srsly?
Mungo MacCallum, a veteran Australian political commentator of more than 40 years, says that politics is increasingly viewed as simply one more form of entertainment.
Well, it’s more entertaining than when Mungo was prominent.
“There is no doubt that the advent of the shock jock, the advent of the populist media and the idea that suddenly nothing is too extreme to be countenanced has become a great deal worse,” he said in an interview.
As opposed to graffiti tags or bird calls. At this point the Times ran out of experts:
David Welch, a 60-year-old artist and supporter of the government plan, said he thought that the tenor of the debate was “much worse” than any he could remember in his lifetime.
He’s an artist on the edge. Too bad about the memory problems.
Tim Blair – Monday, May 23, 11 (06:31 am)
Sydney will be the Australian capital most vulnerable to extreme flooding events, the Climate Commission says.
While the likelihood of damaging floods, storm surges and king tides will increase around the coast, Sydney can expect to see ‘’extreme events’’ once a month by 2100, the commission’s report The Critical Decade says.
The leader of our Climate Commission previously predicted that Sydney would run out of water by 2007. Now he’s hauling in $180,000 of taxpayers’ money per year – working part-time – by predicting too much water. Truly, he is theKing of Tides.
Tim Blair – Monday, May 23, 11 (04:44 am)
Tim Blair – Monday, May 23, 11 (04:11 am)
Former Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks says he’s not a monster and hadn’t even heard of al-Qaeda until he was interrogated at the prison camp.
Mr Hicks made his first public appearance at the Sydney Writers’ Festival on Sunday talking about his book Guantanamo: My Journey.
The autobiography recounts his early years growing up in Adelaide, his conversion to Islam to gain a sense of belonging and his travels to Kosovo and Kashmir to help suffering civilians.
“(Afghanistan) is such a small part of my story and yet you get the impression from the media that it was the only part of the story,” Mr Hicks told a packed Sydney Theatre crowd.
“I went to Afghanistan to receive basic military training. I have no problem saying that because that’s what happened.
“I had never heard of the word al-Qaeda until I heard it from the lips of an interrogator in Guantanamo Bay years later.
“There weren’t al-Qaeda training camps where I was. It’s all about Kashmir, my story. It’s not about Afghanistan.”
Now read earlier accounts of Hicks’s story, as told by Hicks himself. You’d imagine that the audience at the Sydney Writers’ Festival, being literate types, might have read those accounts too. So how did they react to Hicks’s latest claims?
Mr Hicks and his father Terry, his long-time supporter, both received standing ovations during the talk.
He brags of meeting Osama bin Laden, waging war on the West and wanting to die for Allah. And those idiots love him.
Tim Blair – Sunday, May 22, 11 (01:29 pm)
Andrew Bolt – Monday, May 23, 11 (07:00 am)
Even Professor Willi Steffen, an alamrist with the Climate Commission, predicts a sea level rise by 2100 no higher than a metre:
Professor Steffen’s report strongly defends the scientific finding that human emissions of carbon dioxide are causing the world to warm, predicts the sea could rise by up to a metre by 2100...
So we are still waiting for the ABC’s lead science presenter, Robyn Williams, to explain his disgraceful scaremongering:
Andrew Bolt: I’m telling you, there’s a lot of fear out there. So what I do is, when I see an outlandish claim being made...so Tim Flannery suggesting rising seas this next century eight stories high, Professor Mike Archer, dean of engineering at the University of NSW…
Robyn Williams: Dean of science.
Andrew Bolt: Dean of science...suggesting rising seas this next century of up to 100 metres, or Al Gore six metres. When I see things like that I know these are false. You mentioned the IPCC report; that suggests, at worst on best scenarios, 59 centimetres.
Robyn Williams: Well, whether you take the surge or whether you take the actual average rise are different things.
Robyn Williams: It is possible, yes. The increase of melting that they’ve noticed in Greenland and the amount that we’ve seen from the western part of Antarctica, if those increases of three times the expected rate continue, it will be huge.
In fact, the University of Colorado, which maintains the most-quoted dta base for sea-level rise, now admits:
You may also note that rate of sea level rise over recent years has been less than the long-term average. This is believed to be due to the recent La Nina’s we have been experiencing, though research on this is continuing...
And a new in the Journal of Coastal Research says sea level rises are actually decelerating:
It is essential that investigations continue to address why this worldwide-temperature increase has not produced acceleration of global sea level over the past 100 years, and indeed why global sea level has possibly decelerated for at least the last 80 years.
Andrew Bolt – Monday, May 23, 11 (06:58 am)
Government-deleivered services tend to be more expensive. Who knew?
THE government-owned electricity networks in NSW and Queensland are charging almost twice as much as privately owned operators in Victoria, resulting in soaring bills for consumers, a new report warns…
The government-owned networks also have more frequent and longer outages than the private networks that operate in Victoria and South Australia.
Andrew Bolt – Monday, May 23, 11 (06:03 am)
Maybe we’re looking in the wrong place to explain some of the changes in the climate, admits one of Europe’s top institutes for marine science.
A press release from the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences at the Christian-Albrechts Universität zu Kiel (IFM-GEOMAR) explains its paper in Nature:
Our climate is affected by the ocean in many ways. The most prominent example is the El Niño phenomenon in the Pacific, a well-documented interannual climate signal. Oceanographers from the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences in Kiel (IFM-GEOMAR) and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI, USA) have recently documented the effect of deep equatorial currents in the Atlantic on rainfall and climate over West Africa....
Oceanographers from the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences in Kiel (IFM-GEOMAR), in collaboration with their colleagues from the USA, were now able to demonstrate the existence of regular interannual temperature fluctuations which have an effect on the rainfall of the region but cannot be traced back to the previously known sources. Even more astonishing for the scientists is the fact that all measurements indicate that these fluctuations are caused by deep currents of the equatorial Atlantic itself.
“To date, when trying to explain tropical climate variations, we have always looked upwards, specifically to the atmosphere. Our new data, for the first time, direct our attention towards the depths of the ocean, thereby opening new perspectives for our scientific approach,” explained Dr Peter Brandt, professor at IFM-GEOMAR. ...
“The time series obtained over the past ten to twenty years have revealed previously unknown fluctuations of currents and temperatures at the surface of the tropical Atlantic which have a regular cycle of 54 months, or 4 ½ years,” explained Peter Brandt. The scientists were able to document similar fluctuations of the “Deep Jets”, deep currents down to 3000 m with speeds of 10-20 cm/sec. They flow along the equator, crossing the entire Atlantic, with flow reversals every few hundred meters. “These jets are generated in the deep ocean, and their energy apparently propagates upwards through the water column. Once near the surface, this energy affects currents and temperatures,” stated Dr Brandt.
(Thanks to reader Old Fellah.)
Andrew Bolt – Monday, May 23, 11 (12:07 am)
All pain, zero gain:
One of Australia’s largest home and business electricity suppliers, TRUenergy, has warned thathousehold power bills will double in six years after a carbon price is introduced and uncertainty over its implementation might lead to power shortages.
The gas and electricity giant’s chief executive, Richard McIndoe, said uncertainty over what the long-term carbon price might be has stalled capital investment in the industry and halted construction of new power stations....
The mooted carbon tax of between $20 and $25 a tonne of emissions would not change industry behaviour but would double electricity bills for households over six years given the 30 per cent rise, he said.
“A carbon price will add another $300 per household on top of that, so for a six-year period you’re seeing an effective doubling of electricity prices per household with no tangible benefit,” Mr McIndoe said.
(Thanks to reader John.)
Andrew Bolt – Monday, May 23, 11 (12:02 am)
The problem with identifying so strongly with one ethnic group is that the temptation is to see members of others as less human:
Referee Petros Katsiokalis was set upon by more than half a dozen thugs in a group of at least 20 spectators who punched, kicked and stomped on him after storming the pitch when their team BESA FC lost a cup night clash to the Western Strikers, at Carnegie Reserve, Royal Park (in Adelaide), last week.
Mr Katsiokalis, 48, said he feared he was going to die.
“The last thing I remembered before blacking out was someone about to stomp on my head...,” recalled the veteran referee of 22 years, who ended up in hospital with a facial fracture, a cut forehead and severe bleeding…
Options could include kicking BESA FC out the competition, as has happened to previous amateur soccer clubs associated with the Albanian community. In July 2008, the Black Eagles Soccer Club, BESA FC’s predecessor, was banned after a sickening brawl in which an opponent was kicked unconscious.
Andrew Bolt – Monday, May 23, 11 (12:02 am)
South African abandons apartheid as evil, but the Australian Football League adopts it as good:
An AFL match will be staged as an exhibition event at the Africa Games in Mozambique in September.It will be between a team from South Africa and an Australian Aboriginal team.
(Thanks to reader Andrew.)
Andrew Bolt – Sunday, May 22, 11 (02:19 pm)
One reason we need welcome ceremonies is that non-Aborigines are an “introduced species”. (From 6.40)